Are You Killing Your Capacity for Creativity?

Photo courtesy of Mark Couvillion

The incredible convenience of modern technology has without a doubt improved the productivity levels of professionals around the globe, but at what cost?

Admittedly, I did make the switch to an iPhone about six months ago, and because of it, I’ve been able to successfully coordinate several virtual projects that might have otherwise taken a lot longer. My response time for work emails is impressive, and anytime an important client has had any questions, I have been able to reply when they needed an answer - not when I managed to get to a computer.

I’m a big proponent of taking change as it comes and being open to our ever-improving world. After all, we don’t refuse to use indoor toilets just because our great-grandparents didn’t use them, right?

Times they are a-changin’, and our time happens to be the era of huge technological advances. Instead of pounding out our work reports on a Brother Opus 885 typewriter, we’re now able to create documents simply by talking into our phones. Sitting in doctors’ offices will rarely leave any of us bored now that we can surf the internet while we wait. Finding new and interesting restaurants to try is as simple as asking your personal virtual assistant to do a search for you.

The incredible conveniences and productivity enhancements that we now have access to in our back pockets come at a price, and I’m not just talking about the big bucks you’ve got to pay just to own the latest technology.

Before nearly everyone had a hand-held office/entertainment/computer/communication device, down time was just that – down time. Waiting rooms, car rides, sitting by the pool – these were times that we used to spend thinking, imagining and coming up with new ideas. Solving our problems was something we used to have to do without any help from a massive network of connections or 24/7 access to the world wide web. It seems to me that the old fashioned concept of ‘thinking’ has quite frankly gone out of style.

So what should one do? Is it prudent to toss your iPhone 5 out the next open window you see or stomp it to bits on your driveway? Luckily, there’s a much easier and cost-effective solution.

Balance.

It’s ok to own a smartphone, laptop, tablet, e-reader, and whatever cutting edge gaming system floats your boat. Time keeps on slipping right on into the future, and far be it for us to sit back and not take advantage of this incredible world we live in. Multi-task by tele-working while you monitor your baby with high tech pajamas, email from the comfort of your totally customized, fully-loaded bed. Read books that you’ve downloaded – you can save a tree! Enjoy the hell out of your Xbox 360 Kinect and carry your grocery coupons in your phone.

The only catch is that you absolutely must plan time during your day where you’re not relying on technology. Let your brain do some of the work. If you work from home, turn off technology during non-working hours. Power down your phone once in awhile and even leave it at home from time to time. Read magazines at the doctor’s office, or just daydream while you look out the window at the sky. Ponder your life and try solving some of your problems without turning to the internet – see what you come up with.

You may have forgotten just how enjoyable the unplugged world can be.

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    • Jay

      Adrienne – well said. We had a company strategic planning session in June. The outside presenter, and moderator for the 3 day session – a business consultant – made this a key in her guiding principles for our future initiatives. Creative/ thinking time. Otherwise, we are slaves to the to do list. Ironically, the thinking time, while initially feeling like wasted time, saves time! Crazy though, I need to schedule it into my iPhone alarm!

      • Adrienne McGuire

        I have been purposely leaving my iPhone at home (it give me slight anxiety but I do it anyway) at times so that I’m forced to sit and wait without it. I don’t pick up a magazine either. I’ll just sit and THINK. It’s been really good. I take along a paper notebook in my purse to jot down ideas, like I used to!